Alliance for Quality Education
7:22 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Syracuse Teachers, Parents, School Officials Feeling 'the Blues' Over Education Funding, Reform

School Employees and Parents wore blue to indicate their mood about school issues.
Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News

  Teachers, Parents, School Administrators and others wore blue Monday to protest the way public education is being run and funded.  

Syracuse Teachers Association President Kevin Ahern was among those who gathered at Doctor Weeks Elementary to target, in part, the common core curriculum. 

"Our members are feeling blue about the rushed implementation of the Common Core.  Teachers are overwhelmed as they try to contend with a curriculum that is clearly not ready, an evaluation system that feels as if it sets them up for failure, and a never-ending cycle of testing and preparing for tests.  Students are also increasingly fed up with this joyless routine."

The Monday protest at Dr. Weeks Elementary in Syracuse was part of national ReclaimPublicEdNow.org movement
Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News

  Inequality of school funding is another complaint.  Pam Percival with Parents for Public Schools says the result is a neglected promise to both kids and the community.

"It matters in this state where you're born.  You have educational opportunities based on where you happen to be born and that's not fair.  The courts agreed with that 10 years ago and we still have not acted on that."

(Read description of Campaign For Fiscal Equity Lawsuit HERE)

OTHER VOICES ON EDUCATION REFORMS

Bill Spreter with the Alliance for Quality Education has some colorful analogies of how he thinks school reforms are failing.

    

East Syracuse-Minoa School Counselor Shelly Chizzonite wants to see focus on teaching, not testing.

CUTS AT SUNY CAMPUSES PROTESTED  

Higher Education is also feeling squeezed.  United University Professions President Mike Lyon at SUNY Upstate says in the past decade funding for SUNY schools was cut $1.2 Billion while enrollment rose by 41,000 students.

"The decrease in state support added to the increase in student enrollment raises concerns for me, concerns about preserving the high-quality of our state university system, and insuring that SUNY remains accessible to all qualified students."    

The parents and teachers are joining with the Alliance for Quality Education to call for: an additional $1.9 billion dollars for K-thru-12 education;  a three-year moratorium on high-stakes standardized tests;  and elimination of using bubble test forms for K-through second grade students.  Governor Cuomo could address some concerns in his state budget proposal next month.  Meanwhile New York's Education Commissioner continues to hear the outcry as well.